In the story of the 4 who entered Pardes (Chagigah starting on 14b) it says that Elisha ben Abuyah saw Metatron the angel sitting and therefore became a heretic. In order to show Elisha that Metatron is not an independent power the angel was given 60 lashes of fire. My questions are:

  1. What is the symbolism (if any) with the number 60? Usually a human is given up to 39 lashes.
  2. Does this gemarah imply that an angel feels pain? If not what was the point in lashing him at all?
  • Given that Babylonia used base 60, 60 probably just means a lot; akin to saying "a hundred" or "hundreds" in a base 10 society. – mevaqesh Jun 13 '17 at 19:47
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    @mevaqesh - That seems about right. As for #2, I don't think the lashes were given as a punishment to Metatron; the Gemara clearly states it was to show that Metatron had no authority, which you mentioned yourself! I'm not sure I entirely understand what you are asking. – ezra Jun 13 '17 at 20:11
  • There's another instance in the end of Yoma where an angel (Gavriel) was given Malkos. – Shmuel Jun 13 '17 at 21:51
  • @mevaqesh do you have a link that you can show Bablyonians using base 60? just curious – TrustMeI'mARabbi Jun 14 '17 at 15:15
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    @Trust it is common knowledge. Just Google it and I am sure you will find it in a moment. – mevaqesh Jun 14 '17 at 15:17

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